Welsh Pirates and Privateers
by Terry Breverton.
Gwasg Carreg Gwalch 2018.
Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest,
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum…
Who does not thrill to very mention of pirates? I do, for sure, and for all the usual reasons — the smell of open sea, the ship in full sail, the thrill of the chase, the bustle of action as other ships are sighted. I’m less enamoured of the usual clichés though — the pirate talk, the romantic notion of the sea thief with a heart of gold beneath their bluff exterior, the stereotyped clothing — though I blame that on an early addiction to documented history.
So you can imagine my delight in spotting this pocket-sized volume: over fifty named Welsh pirates, a profusely illustrated text on quality paper, a discussion on how Welsh seamen were a key element in the history of piracy and privateering, all by a writer who had already authored seven books on the subject, with this volume a revised and updated version of his 2003 title The Book of Welsh Pirates and Buccaneers.
But I was to discover there were two sides to my reaction to this acquisition: genuine delight mixed with some frustration.
The good bits first.